Kentucky Derby 149 Post Draw: Winners & Losers from Churchill Downs

Chris Adams

Written by: Chris Adams

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Kentucky Derby 149 Post Draw: Winners & Losers from Churchill Downs cover


The post draw for the 149th Kentucky Derby took place Monday. With a field devoid of a standout, the draw could play an even bigger role than in previous years.

2023 Kentucky Derby Post Positions

Each horse’s post position is listed below. This will be their number in the Kentucky Derby for those who like to play a hunch bet on their favorite digits. In parenthesis are the horse’s morning line odds.

Following each horse’s odds is their preferred position to the halfway point of the race.

  • Early Speed runners are horses that want the lead.
  • Stalkers are horses that generally travel within 3 lengths of the leaders
  • Mid Pack horses are generally no more than 5 lengths back from the front runners
  • Closers will come from more than 5 lengths back

The Kentucky Derby Field

  1. Hit Show (30-1) Stalker
  2. Verifying (15-1) Early Speed
  3. Two Phil’s (12-1) Stalker
  4. Confidence Game (20-1) Early Speed/Stalker
  5. Tapit Trice (5-1) Closer
  6. Kingsbarns (12-1) Early Speed/Stalker
  7. Reincarnate (50-1) Early Speed/Stalker
  8. Mage (15-1) Mid Pack/Stalker
  9. Skinner (20-1) Closer
  10. Practical Move (10-1) Stalker
  11. Disarm (30-1) Stalker
  12. Jace’s Road (15-1) Early Speed/Stalker
  13. Sun Thunder (50-1) Closer
  14. Angel of Empire (8-1) Mid Pack
  15. Forte (3-1) Mid Pack
  16. Raise Cain (50-1) Mid Pack
  17. Derma Sotogake (10-1) Early Speed/Stalker
  18. Rocket Can (30-1) Stalker
  19. Lord Miles (30-1) Stalker
  20. Continuar (50-1) Stalker

Kentucky Derby Also Eligibles

The following horses are listed in order of preference to draw into the race should a scratch occur.

  1. Cyclone Mischief (AE) (30-1)
  2. Mandarin Hero (AE) (22-1)
  3. King Russell (AE) (50-1)

Kentucky Derby Post Draw Race Analysis

Generally speaking this post draw added some intrigue to a race that already had a lot of potential outcomes. There had been two overarching themes from a lot of professional and amateur touts in the weeks since the final prep races.

The first was that no one seems to like Forte, the morning line favorite, 2 year old champion, and Florida Derby winner. The other theme was that this race seemed to lack pace.

However, Monday’s post draw may have changed at least one of those opinions.

Speed Draws Inside

Despite lacking true front running horses like one could find on a regular Friday in the claiming ranks at Gulfstream Park, Kentucky Derby 149 may have by sheer fate introduced a more honest pace into a race that previously appeared to have none.

Many of the horses who projected to try and get a tactical stalking trip drew to the inside during the lottery style post draw. For horses like Hit Show this means they may have to use a little extra early to avoid having 18 horses crashing down on him.

Meanwhile horses like Verifying and Kingsbarns who were projected to be among the those vying for contention drew close to each other which could encourage a bit of an early duel for the lead.

Even Two Phil’s who isn’t an outright speed horse has the highest average E1 and E2 pace ratings according to Brisnet.

All of these horses are drawn inside of post 7 which could help things heat up for those who want to close late.

Japan’s Bad Luck

Much has been made about the recent success of the Japanese success across the world of horse racing in recent years. Their investment in the Sunday Silence breeding line has clearly paid off. Many went into the draw respecting their 2 runners ahead of the post draw.

Continuar, the less fancied runner drew the outside with post #20 which isn’t ideal in the Kentucky Derby field. However, it is the other runner that got hung wide who may have lost the most.

UAE Derby winner Derma Sotogake drew post 17. Many saw this horse as a potential pace wild card. Unfortunately, with the other speed to the inside and so many other stalking types to his inside, it feels like this runner may be in a tough spot trying to find a place to go before the first turn.

The horse may just be good enough but you can bet that the connections were disappointed with the outcome.

Kentucky Derby Post Draw Big Winners

The following outlines, in my estimation, the 5 horses who most benefited from where they drew in the race. These should not be confused for top selections. A full in depth analysis of the Kentucky Derby will be available on Betting News later this week.

#10 Practical Move (10-1) Stalker

Practical Move earns a spot in the Kentucky Derby
Practical Move

The big winner of the post draw appears to be Practical Move. The California horse got a dream spot in the middle of the starting gate. With his tactical speed he should be able to let the inside speeds clear off and pick any trip he wants into the first turn. If he’s able to get and hold good position up the back side, he could be right where he wants to be for the final drive.

#6 Kingsbarns (12-1) Early Speed/Stalker


Kingsbarn’s connections have to be thrilled with this spot. He has won as a stalker but his last victory came in the Louisiana Derby where he took them gate to wire in the longest prep on the circuit. The draw just to the outside of the likeliest front runner means that his jockey will be able to watch what happens to his inside and make the decision to go to the front or tuck in just off the leaders.

#2 Verifying (15-1) Early Speed


This horse has one way to win this race and it is to get out quick and take them around. It almost worked in the Blue Grass if not for a pesky Tapit Trice who just headed him at the wire. By drawing to the inside he should have a clear path from the gate to get out to the lead without having to worry about crossing over other rivals. There is concern that his early pace numbers aren’t good enough, but if the jump is good we know where he’ll want to be.

#15 Forte (3-1) Mid Pack

Forte, Kentucky Derby favorite

I went back and forth on whether this post was good or bad for Forte. While not ideal, this post is better than being inside. With many speed runners inside of him, the 2 year old champ may just be able to find a nice lane to his inside and settle in roughly 4 lengths off the lead. If the pace does get hot, that sets up beautifully for a classy animal who has shown a ton of heart in the lane. All systems go for this Kentucky Derby favorite.

#8 Mage (15-1) Mid Pack/Stalker


Mage is another Florida Derby runner who will like the draw. He was almost good enough to dethrone Forte last out. He will once again draw to the 2 year old champs inside and could continue to step forward off his light seasoning to this point. Much like Forte this draw seems to give Mage a lot of flexibility in the trip he wants to work out.

Kentucky Derby Post Draw Big Losers

#1 Hit Show (30-1) Stalker

Hit Show

It is cliché to say that the Kentucky Derby horse with the 1 hole is the biggest loser, but it really does fit here. While the 1 post is much better than it used to be when the auxiliary gate was in play, the pace scenario is what concerns me most about this draw. With so much speed just to his outside I worry that this post will mean Hit Show has to be asked early and will take away his best chance to make things interesting.

#5 Tapit Trice (5-1) Closer

Tapit Trice

This is one of my strongest opinions and I seem to be on a bit of an island talking to a number of other horseplayers after the draw, but I think this post is terrible for Tapit Trice.

While most of the speed should clear off immediately around him, he will be sitting inside as the herd comes down toward the rail into the first turn. If that happens this horse could get boxed in and the giant son of Tapit is not a handy type. He can sustain a long run, but his size makes it hard for him to stop and start quickly. He needs a lot of open space to get up to speed and this post draw just seems like an opportunity for him to get stopped several times before he ever gets to do his running.

#17 Derma Sotogake (10-1) Early Speed/Stalker

Derma Sotogake earns a spot in the Kentucky Derby
Derma Sotogake

Maybe this horse is just the best. His 106 Beyer Equivalent makes him lengths better than anyone in this field. However, that number was earned when he inherited a lead in the UAE Derby. With all the other perceived speed to his inside this one will almost assuredly be forced to take on his stalking tactics, but with so many other talented stalkers inside as well this could mean a wide trip or loss of position.

#12 Jace’s Road (15-1) Early Speed/Stalker

Jace’s Road

Realistically I didn’t give this horse much of a chance to begin with, but drawing this far wide of so many early speed and stalker types means that a horse with questionable talent for this race now also has to work out a different kind of trip and that seems like a couple bridges too far to make this one a serious player.

#18 Rocket Can (30-1) Stalker

Rocket Can

I’m not sure that this draw for Rocket Can moved the needle much either way. He was always going to be a long shot to win and his morning line reflects that. However, the horse who has already lost to the Florida preppers was done no favors by find himself way to the outside of the balance of the field. This one will be tough to make a case for from there.

Kentucky Oaks Post Draw

Along with the Kentucky Derby Post Draw, the Kentucky Oaks also drew for their field. Here are the Kentucky Oaks Post Draw results.

  1. Mimi Kakushi (20-1)
  2. The Alys Look (15-1)
  3. Gambling Girl (15-1)
  4. Southlawn (8-1)
  5. Wonder Wheel (12-1)
  6. Botanical (4-1)
  7. Wet Paint (5-2)
  8. Promiseher America (30-1)
  9. And Tell Me Nolies (15-1)
  10. Flying Connection (15-1)
  11. Defining Purpose (12-1)
  12. Dorth Vader (20-1)
  13. Affirmative Lady (10-1)
  14. Pretty Mischievous (10-1)

Kentucky Oaks Also Eligibles

The following horses are listed in order of preference to draw into the race should a scratch occur.

  1. Taxed (AE) (20-1)
  2. Julia Shining (AE) (15-1)
  3. Hoosier Filly (AE) (30-1)

Continued Kentucky Derby Coverage

Betting News will continue coverage from Churchill Downs with full card breakdowns of the Friday (Kentucky Oaks) and Saturday (Kentucky Derby) cards.

Chris Adams
Chris Adams

Chris first got introduced to horse racing in 2009 at Canterbury Park (Shakopee, MN). Along with handicapping and betting, Chris has worked as a teller at his local track and participated in ownership partnerships. He now enjoys sharing his passion with his wife and two young daughters who love going out to the track each and every summer.

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